This is a greatly abbreviated version of my experience with Charlotte Tire in Charlotte, MI, a subsidiary of Albion Tire City in Albion, MI while returning my Mickey Thompson ATZ Plus tires under warranty. Based on this experience, I would not recommend purchasing from this company. Charlotte Tire is sometime referred to by local folks by it's former name, Geldhof Tire.
I've chosen to be as brief as possible to describe my situation. I've updated events as they've occurred in our other thread
, but I wanted to break it out to its own thread, as things tend to get buried over there. If anyone has any questions or comments, feel free to add them here. If you read this whole thing, you have my thanks and congratulations.
This spring when I pulled my Jeep out of storage, it was about time to rotate the tires as I had about 8K miles on them. When I did, I had the beginning of death wobble. There was a consistent wobble at 55 MPH or so, and a bump would set off full on DW.
Figuring the tires just needed to be balanced, I took the tires to Discount Tire on the west side of Lansing. (These guys have been top notch during the whole experience. I highly recommend them.) The reason I choose Discount is because they have a road force balance machine.
Over the summer, I had Discount balance the tires on 4 different occasions. They tried road force, spin balance, static, dynamic balance to correct the wobble. No matter what balance they tried or what position the tires were in, the shimmy never went away, and was always right around 55 MPH. It varied based on the balance they tried and the position of the tires (front, rear, etc.) but it never went away fully. I probably rotated the tires a dozen different times trying different combinations to get rid of the issue. Keep in mind we're not talking about bias-ply super swampers here; they were all-terrains that barely measured over 32".
I finally took it back to the store I bought them from, Charlotte Tire, because I wanted to replace the tires under warranty. This was in August. They wanted a shot at balancing them. They then drove my Jeep to verify the wobble was still there. The suggested a replacement steering stabilizer, which didnít need replacing. They then suggested a DUAL stabilizer, so I explained than any stabilizer isnít necessary. (Anyone who knows the first thing about Jeep steering should know this suggestion alone shows their lack of knowledge.)
By spinning the balance machine slowly, the showed me the lateral imbalance in the tire. You could look down the sidewall while it was spinning and see the tire move left and right while the rim spun true. Before they returned them for warrantee, they wanted me to buy another set of tires to prove that the issue wasn't with my Jeep. I instead, to their agreement, brought it over with a set of old (but well balanced) roller tires on it. They drove it again and of course the wobble was gone with the roller tires on it.
I called several times because each time they were supposed to get back to me, they never did. After several weeks, they offered me $300 for the set of tires. I refused, since I paid over $1000 for these things 8K miles ago. They gave me a real "**** you" attitude about the whole thing and simply refused to do anything better.
I called the manufacture directly. I explained the situation, and they indicated that they retailer should send the tire back to them. I called the retailer and requested them sent back. They had no logical explanation why this wasn't offered in the first place when I questioned them.
On October 8, I finally heard (after I made several follow up calls, of course) that they would issue a refund of a bit over $600 and I should see a check in a week or so. On Oct 25, I called to follow up because I'd seen nothing. They indicated it would be a few more weeks.
I got curious so I called the manufacture to see what the refund amount was and when it was issued. They indicated that they needed the return number from the retailer. So I called the retailer and asked for the return number. The guy I had been working with got real pissed that I was asking for it and said the return "was none of my business." I asked for his distributor's phone number to call myself, and he wouldn't give that either. He was upset that I didn't trust him after he "went out of his way for me," and told me not to call them again. No, really, he said that. Not only do they have terrible customer relation skills, this guy is even delusional. He has done less than nothing to help me with this situation and only acted when prompted by me.
So I called the manufacture back with the above update, and they called the retailer. The manufacture was able to obtain the refund info and confirmed it was in line with what they refunded, and the check should be mailed early this week. He gave me the owner's number to call if necessary.
I haven't seen the check yet.
All that being said, Discount Tire on the west side of Lansing has been great through this whole ordeal. These guys were very patient trying to get these tires balanced, and gave me a decent deal on a new set of tires because of all the crap I went through with my old ones, even though they didn't originally sell them to me. THAT'S customer service. Mickey Thompson was great too. They dealt with the unreasonable retailer when they didn't really have to. I didn't buy Mickey Thompson tires again this time, but I wouldn't hesitate to again because they stood behind their product, and really went the extra mile when they didn't have to.
I spent the whole summer unable to drive my Jeep, which I worked so hard and spent so much money on, because of this issue. I choose to support local businesses when possible, but I will never spend another dime in this shop, and I encourage others to do the same. Over these past few months, I've shared my experience with Charlotte Tire with as many people as possible. A few people won't be purchasing from them because of my issues with them. Iíll continue to tell my story to anyone willing to listen.